Local First Arizona is teaming up with the city of Mesa to recognize independently owned businesses that are doing good for the planet through the Arizona Green Business Program.
This certification process for Arizona’s locally owned businesses, large and small, has two purposes — to recognize businesses that are leading the way, and to assist those who want to add sustainability into their operations by making the process hands-on, cost-savings oriented, and impactful, according to a release.
“Having our Mesa businesses work with Local First Arizona on the Arizona Green Business Program is a tremendous benefit to our entire community. I am especially proud that Stardust Building Supplies, which calls District 3 home, is being recognized for earning this certification,” said Mesa District 3 Councilmember Francisco Heredia. “The positive impact to our environment is substantial and helping businesses maximize their efforts to go green will save them money and help them to stand out in the marketplace. I look forward to many more Mesa businesses taking advantage of this program and earning their certification.”
To participate, businesses answer a checklist of questions focusing on waste diversion, energy consumption, water conservation, pollution prevention, wastewater management, transportation emissions and creating a sustainability culture in the workplace.
A site visit is performed to learn more about the business’s sustainability practices, a custom sustainability plan is developed and ongoing assistance from the LFA team is available to help participants reach their goals.
A little research helps to determine costs involved, potential savings and rebates, and how to engage staff and communicate their actions with stakeholders. Businesses must reach a designated number of measures to achieve certification. Once certified, they are added to an online directory and mobile app, making it easier for conscious consumers to find them. Certified businesses will be promoted through Local First newsletters and social media, the release states.
“The Arizona Green Business Certification Program provides significant cost-savings and promotional opportunities for locally owned businesses in the community. This program is a model of sustainability best practices due to significant collaboration and strong partnerships,” Mike Peel, Local First’s statewide sustainability director, said in the release. “The involvement of local businesses is a proven strategy to create a stronger local economy with sustainability operations leading to larger cost-savings opportunities. We are very appreciative of the leadership of the City of Mesa to collaborate with our team to grow the reach of the program and have a larger impact for the benefit of the economy and the environment.”
Businesses that have gone through the program in Phoenix and Tempe have made positive changes including installing water-saving devices, starting programs to encourage sourcing of locally grown food, diverting waste properly, working on alternative transportation strategies for staff members, and creating written policies that detail how sustainability is practiced throughout their operations.
The first business in Mesa to achieve certification is Stardust Building Supplies.
The nonprofit organization operates two reuse centers for home improvement that sell gently used, salvaged and surplus building materials at from cabinets to appliances and furniture. They also provide deconstruction services that salvage building materials, divert waste from landfills and support sustainability in the community. For more information go to stardustbuilding.org.
“We found the Local First Green Business Certification Program to be extremely valuable in helping Stardust recognize the efforts we are making towards operating in a more sustainable fashion and helping us identify areas where we could make significant improvement,” Karen Jayne, CEO of Stardust Building Supplies, said. “The resources Local First provided throughout the process were invaluable. Operating in a sustainable fashion is not only great for the environment but also very beneficial to the community and our employees. I highly recommend the program and certification to anyone interested in environmentally sustainable business operations.”
The Arizona Green Business Program is open to independently owned businesses in Tempe, Phoenix and Mesa. More information can be found at localfirstaz.com/greenbusiness or by emailing Mr. Peel at Mike@localfirstaz.com.